Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

"I Am Not the Same after My ERASMUS": A Qualitative Research

Academic journal article The Qualitative Report

"I Am Not the Same after My ERASMUS": A Qualitative Research

Article excerpt

Education has a key role to play in the European Community (EC), which has moved towards economic, monetary, and political union (Jones, 1991; Pepin, 2007). In other words, education unity among the EC countries has been important in the process of unifying Europe. Thus, with the thoughts of strengthening a regular, determined and democratic society, the education ministries of 29 European countries initiated the process of unifying education by signing the Bologna Declaration in 1999 (Dolasir & Tuncel, 2004). The Bologna Process has played a considerable role in the development of European higher education with a leadership role in bringing about not only political and economic union but also a union in research and development (Luttikhot, 1989). Furthermore, the European Community Action Scheme for the Mobility of University Students (ERASMUS) program, which was accepted in 2000 as the final step of higher education, is very important in providing qualified human resources sharing scientifically gained knowledge, continuing development of skills for changing needs, and educating young people towards European ideals (Dolasir & Tuncel, 2004). To conclude, teachers' and students' mobility, one of the main goals to be achieved by the European Union education policies, is the key element of the program (Pineda, Moreno, & Belvis, 2008). Thus, the ERASMUS program involves student mobility, teacher/staff mobility, joint curriculum development, and intensive teaching programs as noted by Puigpelat (1989) and Martin (1990). On the other hand, as underlined by Rivza and Teichler (2007), student mobility is in a growth trend while information does not confirm consistent growth according to various criteria and measures. In other words, it is obvious that there exists a strong need for scientific research to evaluate the ERASMUS program in terms of its efficiency, outcomes, impacts, and the need for it. In this way, it is possible to identify the possible contributions and problems, to present solutions and recommendations, and finally, to make recommendations about further research. For this reason, issues such as the needs, beliefs, and perceptions of Turkish students participating in the program seem to be important areas to investigate. Thus, the perceptions of the participants regarding the possible contributions and problems during the participation process are a significant issue to evaluate the program in terms of the efficiency, outcomes, and impacts of the process. To this end, there exists a strong necessity to evaluate the process in terms of participants' perceptions of the program for the implementation and participation to understand the benefits of the program and the problems encountered during the participation process as the Council of Higher Education of Turkey is taking steps to implement the ERASMUS program and encouraging Turkey's universities to participate the program.

One of the limitations concerning studies on the ERASMUS program is that there is a serious lack of qualitative and holistic studies that aim at reflecting the participants' perceptions towards the program, as previous studies mainly consisted of descriptions, reports, opinion papers, survey studies using statistical analysis, discussion papers, and evaluations on the formal procedure of the program. Thus, using a qualitative research design to investigate the contributions of the program and the problems before, after and during participation in a holistic way, it seemed necessary to investigate participants' perceptions towards the program in terms of the program's contributions and the problems they encountered.

As Mizikaci (2005) highlights, Turkey is a signatory country of the Bologna Declaration, and follows all of the requirements for the integration into European higher education. In this sense, student involvement and participation seem important steps to integrate into the European higher education system. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.